Tech startups, software developers and media designers use the word agnostic in a wonderful way. The term has nothing to do with religion. Rather, it describes content that’s accessible and attractive to users, regardless of the mobile operating system, and regardless of the device on which it operates. Ask any programmer worth their salt, and they’ll say that being device or platform agnostic helps maximize compatibility, maximize collaboration, reduce support demands, and therefore, enable faster and easier market adoption. That’s where leverage comes into play. Because one of the ways we increase our rate of return is by not overcommitting. By not getting attached to any one particular solution, we can focus on what matters most, which is serving the idea itself, and the servicing the users whose lives are made better because of it. Who knew agnosticism was so profitable? Maybe it’s more of a religion than we realize.
MEDIUM AGNOSTIC -- Allow patterns to emerge and open our work to becoming more dimensionalized, in whatever form it needs to live.
When a songwriter is composing a new track, they do so in an agnostic way. Rather than deciding what type of song to create, they surrender they agendas and listen for what wants to be created. If you want to set yourself or your company up for maximum leverage, keep your process agnostic. Don’t unnecessarily assign labels to your ideas. Don’t let yourself be constrained by medium, genre, device, platform or anything else. Let the work tell you what it wants to become. Better yet, let your users tell you what they’d like your ideas to become. Both might surprise you. Hell, as long as you stay true to your overall vision, does it really matter what what vehicle helps you get there?
Crowell, whose songs have become number one hits in multiple genres, explained it most eloquently in this book of interviews with famous musicians. If there is an agenda such as style or genre, pop, folk, blues, rock or anything else, dictating the process, the cart is before the horse, and the potential for a good song finding its way into this world is in serious jeopardy. Now can you see the danger in overcommitting?
Whether you work in tech or art or any other field, less commitment equals more leverage. It’s all about fluidity. Whereas if you’ve already decided exactly what you’re making, then your work can only be as good as that. But if you remain agnostic, then you might invite new iterations of ideas that never would have crossed your mind. What are the limits of your labels?
Increase our rate of artistic return by not overcommitting
Enable faster and easier market adoption of your product
Free yourself from unnecessary constraints and be more fluid in your process
Invite new iterations of your ideas that never would have crossed your mind